The prominent progressive magazine The Nation published an article today claiming the current trajectory for sea level rise is 20-or-more feet during the next 100 to 200 years. Unfortunately for The Nation, but fortunately for objective truth and climate realism, the current trajectory for sea level rise is merely 1 foot per century.

Google News this morning is promoting The Nation’s article among its top results under the search term “climate crisis.” The Nation article, titled “How Warming Oceans Are Accelerating the Climate Crisis,” claims, “Humans have locked in at least 20 feet of sea level rise.”

The article also claims, “If seas rise 20 feet or more over the next 100 to 200 years – which is our current trajectory – the outlook is grim. In that scenario, there could be two feet of sea level rise by 2040, three feet by 2050, and much more to come.”

According to NASA and NOAA satellite instruments, sea level is rising at a mere 3 millimeters per year, which is a pace of just under one foot per century. (Note, the NASA/NOAA-reported 3.3 mm/year rise in Global Mean Sea Level includes a 0.3 mm “adjustment” that accounts for land rising as glaciers melt. The sea-level rise in relation to coastal shorelines is therefore 3.0 mm/year.) Moreover, the satellite measurements show no significant acceleration during recent decades in the pace of sea-level rise.

Given that seas are rising at a pace of merely one foot per century, which is little if any faster than the pace of sea-level rise throughout the global warming of the 1800s and 1900s, it is almost certain that seas will not rise 20 feet during the next 100 to 200 years. It is also almost certain that seas will not rise two feet during the next 20 years.

Climate activists simply making stuff up, with the media then reporting on the made-up B.S. as if it is settled science, is par for the course these days in media coverage of the climate debate. However, when judging the relative credibility of climate activists versus climate realists, The Nation article provides an objective measuring stick by which people can assess credibility and so-called “settled science.” If sea level rises two feet or more between now and 2040, climate activists are vindicated and have earned credibility. If sea level does not rise two feet or more between now and 2040, climate realists are vindicated and climate activists have lost any asserted credibility.

Climate activists and your lackey media, do you agree to accept such a challenge or would you like to retract your ridiculous sea-level claims?

James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.


  1. James,

    A huge part of the problem is the confusion/ignorance surrounding the RCP8.5 scenario,

    “A sizable portion of recent studies on future climate impacts have focused on a warming scenario called “RCP8.5”. This high-emissions scenario is frequently referred to as “business as usual”, suggesting that is a likely outcome if society does not make concerted efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

    In a nutshell –
    Imagine if CO2 concentrations were to start increasing at a rate of 10 ppm/year, a roughly fourfold jump over the current rate, and kept rising that fast for next 80 years?

    Extremely unlikely, don’t you think? But that’s the equivalent of the RCP8.5

    Not exactly “business as usual”.

  2. Climate activists accept your challenge, and in 20 years they will just increase the sea level data by two feet ftw.


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